P.S. 307 Opens In Corona
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein last week announced that 18 new school buildings with 11,471 classroom seats will open their doors to students across New York City for the 2008-09 school year. "This is the biggest school construction plan in our city's history and it is changing the shape of our school system," Bloomberg said.
At a press conference at P.S. 307, a new school at 40-20 100th St. in Corona, Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, School Construction Authority (SCA) President Sharon Greenberger, and P.S. 307 Principal Cecilia Jackson stood behind the mayor as Bloomberg announced that seven of the 18 new schools were to open in Queens on September 2, the first day of the 2008-09 academic year in the New York City public school system.
P.S. 307 is an elementary school with 996 seats, 30 regular education classrooms and seven special education classrooms. The new school has two pre-kindergarten classes and seven kindergarten classes, with a new grade to be added each year. The building is a fully air conditioned, state of the art facility that features a 300-seat auditorium, a gymnasium, science labs, a multi-purpose room, a cafeteria with a fullservice kitchen, music and art rooms and a medical suite. Its schoolyard holds two playgrounds, a 6,000-square-foot playground for younger students and a 7,000- square-foot playground for older students.
"When the children walk through the doors of this brand new elementary school next week they'll find a shining example of what a New York City public school can look like—modern comfortable classrooms, science labs, music and art rooms, a 300-seat auditorium right behind you, a gymnasium and cafeteria all fully air conditioned and two playgrounds, each the size of a basketball court. I can tell you that when I went to graduate school, we didn't have facilities like this," Bloomberg said.
P.S. 307 Principal Cecilia Jackson said: "I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein and the School Construction Authority for providing us with this beautiful space. When we envisioned P.S. 307 Pioneer Academy we envisioned a place where children could get an education comparable to high-achieving schools in and outside of New York City."
Artist Ross Lewis was responsible for the artwork that adorns the huge lobby of P.S. 307 under the auspices of Public Art for Public Schools, a project of the School Construction Authority in which art projects are attached to new school construction. Part of the project included arranging
for the artist to teach for a year at a local school (P.S. 19) and work with the children there in planning the 80 x 24-foot mural in the P.S. 307 lobby. The mural includes more than 500,000pieces of tile put together robotically. A 16-foot-long red boat is suspended from the ceiling in front of the tiled wall. "The theme of the piece, is called Urban Intersection, and for me it is all about how we come together, the various cultural journeys that we the citizens of the five boroughs have and the different ways we have come," Lewis explained.
Prior to the press conference Bloomberg and Klein toured the new school facility including the auditorium, lunchroom, pre-kindergarten classrooms and playground. The mayor stopped to speak with two pre-k teachers who were getting their classrooms ready for their students. Teacher Fannie Roman, a lifelong resident of Astoria who attended P.S. 70, I.S. 10 and St. John's Prep H.S. and received her BS and MS in Early Childhood Education from Queens College, said, "I have never stepped into a school building as amazing as this. This space is incredible. I am overwhelmed by the space and all of the wonderful manipulatives that are brought into the classroom on a day to day basis."
Fred Lopez and Jean Zucker, assistant principals at P.S. 255, a District 75 Special Education facility located within P.S. 307, will supervise the special needs children sharing the P.S. 307 building. Lopez said, "P.S. 255 is a special ed school for kids with autism who come to us with a variety of needs and who will be serviced in a small school setting through specialized programs. We teach them basic academic skills, functional skills, to prepare them for life."
"Our school will service seven classes of students with autism," Zucker added.
"This is what it is all about. Almost a thousand new students will be at this new school and close by we are going to get a brand new high school," beamed Assemblymember Jose Peralta.
Beside P.S. 307, new schools that opened in Queens yesterday are: P.S. 303, at the former P.S. 3, 108-55 69th Ave., Forest Hills; P.S. 244, 137-20 Franklin Ave., Flushing; P.S. 305, 384 Seneca Ave., Ridgewood; P.S. 306, 95-16 89th Ave., Woodhaven; P.S. 4, Skillman Phase II, 24-30 Skillman Ave., Long Island City, and Elmhurst Education Campus, 45-10 94th St., Elmhurst.